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Chairman: Georgia to ensure ethnic minorities' voting rights
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08:05, January 03, 2008

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Georgia will take measures to ensure the ethnic minorities' voting rights in a Jan. 5 presidential election, Central Election Commission Chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili said here Wednesday.

The Caucasus country is to hold a snap presidential election called last November by ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili who will also join the race.

The voter's lists, ballot papers, election code and other election information have been translated into minority languages for Azeri, Armenian and Osettian ethnic groups, Tarkhnishvili tolda press conference.

Television programs, posters, caps, bags and stickers and T-shirts have also been printed with slogans in different languages, he said, exhibiting some of those materials on the occasion.

Some 70 percent of the country's 4.4 million population are ethnic Georgians and there are also Armenian, Russian, Azeri and other minorities. Georgian and Russian are the mostly spoken language.

The election watchdog will also set up 41 regional election commission abroad for its citizens, he said. Previous reports said polling cubes will not be set up for Georgian troops in Iraq.

There are some 3.5 million eligible voters, including some 27,210 Georgians living abroad, CEC figures show.

"About 55 to 65 percent of the eligible voters will participate in Saturday's voting," Tarkhnishvili told reporters.

There's no thresholds for voting rates in the election but a candidate must win 50 percent plus one ballots for victory, otherwise, a second round of voting will be held two weeks later between the top two candidates.


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